How a Librarian Landed the Cover of a Chemistry Journal
Librarians know a lot about a wide variety of topics. But Lisa Villa, M.L.I.S ’95, took her polymath tendencies to the next level. The English major/librarian got published in a chemistry journal—as a writer AND an illustrator. Her topic? The underrepresentation of Native American talent in STEM fields.
Lisa Villa, M.L.I.S. ’95, is a digital scholarship librarian at the College of the Holy Cross’ Dinand Library. She was the featured cover illustrator and author of an accompanying editorial for the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters. One of Villa’s colleagues spotted the call for entries and Lisa saw an opportunity to showcase Native American, First Nation, and Indigenous chemists, something she’s interested in both personally and professionally. She was honored to have her cover and editorial featured.
“Several prominent chemists who are also strong advocates for increasing the number of Native American/First Nation scientists, are working diligently to raise awareness of these issues and attract interest in scientific fields among members of their community.”Lisa Villa, M.L.I.S. ’95
To create the illustration, Villa used a design tool called Canva. She obtained digital photos of the chemists depicted and composed her cover illustration using Canva and its editing features.
“Several prominent chemists,” says Villa, “who are also strong advocates for increasing the number of Native American/First Nation scientists, are working diligently to raise awareness of these issues and attract interest in scientific fields among members of their community. They acknowledge how cultural beliefs may often be in contention with scientific conversations and have been working to engage and encourage Native American talent in the STEM fields.” Villa adds, “There are many people who deserve to be showcased, but for this cover design, time, space, and available photos limited the selection.”
Villa is working with one of her colleagues to create a display featuring biographies and scholarly articles by the scientists depicted on her cover. The display will also include articles about the lack of representation of Native Americans in STEM, along with names of scholarly professional associations for Native Americans in STEM. They are also proposing a presentation with the same theme.
Villa hopes that her work will help get recognition for these chemists and other Native scientists, as well as raise awareness of professional societies and the growing body of literature specifically addressing issues of Native American/First Nation/Indigenous representation in scientific fields.
Villa notes, “I guess it is a testament to my liberal arts undergraduate and URI GSLIS education that an English-major-turned-librarian is published in a chemistry journal.”
Read Villa’s article, “Celebrating Native Chemists and Encouraging More Native Talent in STEM” at pubs.acs.org/.